Skip to main content

The Harvard Classics / Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf

The Harvard Classics, originally known as Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf, is a 51-volume anthology of classic works from world literature, compiled and edited by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot and first published in 1909. The most comprehensive and well-researched anthology of all time comprises both the 50-volume "5-foot shelf of books" and the the 20-volume Shelf of Fiction. Together they cover every major literary figure, philosopher, religion, folklore and historical subject through the twentieth century.n 1910, Dr. Charles W. Eliot, then President of Harvard University, put together an extraordinary library of "all the books needed for a real education."

"Dr.Charles W.Eliot, the former Harvard president who edited the series, maintained that if one read just 15 minutes a day from the 51 volumes he assembled, it would constitute "a good substitute for a liberal education to anyone who would read them with devotion."

The Editor's Introduction to the Harvard Classics
"My purpose in selecting- The Harvard Classics was to provide the literary materials from which a careful and persistent reader might gain a fair view of the progress of man observing , recording, inventing, and imagining from the earliest historical times to the close of the nineteenth century. Within the limits of fifty volumes, containing about 22,000 pages, I was to provide the means of obtaining such a knowledge of ancient and modern literature as seems essential to the twentieth century idea of a cultivated man. The best acquisition of a cultivated man is a liberal frame of mind or way of thinking; but there must be added to that possession acquaintance with the prodigious store of recorded discoveries, experiences, and reflections which humanity in its intermittent and irregular progress from barbarism to civilization has acquired and laid up. From that store I proposed to make such a selection as any intellectually ambitious American family might use to advantage, even if their early opportunities of education had been scanty."

The purpose of The Harvard Classics is, therefore, one very different from that of the many collections in which the editor's aim has been to select the hundred or the fifty best books in the world; it is nothing less than the purpose to present so ample and characteristic a record of the stream of the world's thought that the observant reader's mind shall be enriched, refined, and fertilized by it.

Volumes
1   Benjamin Franklin, John Woolman, William Penn
2   Plato, Epictecus, Marcus Aurelius
3   Bacon, Milton's Prose, Thomas Browne
4   Milton's Complete Poems in English
5   Emerson. Essays and English Traits
6   Burns. Poems and Songs
7   Saint Augustine, The Confessions. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ
8   Nine Greek Dramas
9   Letters and Treatises of Cicero and Pliny
10 Adam Smith. The Wealth of Nations
11 Darwin. The Origin of Species
12 Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans
13 Virgil's Aeneid
14 Cervantes. Don Quixote, Part I
15 Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress. Walton, Lives of Donne and Herbert.
16 The Thousand and One Nights
17 Folk-Lore and Fable: Aesop, Grimm, Anderson
18 Modern English Drama: Dryden, Sheridan, Goldsmith, Shelley, Browning, Byron
19 Goethe: Faust, Egmont, etc. Marlowe: Doctor Faustus
20 Dante. The Divine Comedy
21 Manzoni. I Promessi Sposi
22 Homer. The Odyssey
23 Dana. Two Years Before the Mast
24 Burke. On the Sublime; Reflections on the Revolution in France, etc.
25 J. S. Mill and Thomas Carlyle
26 Continental Drama
27 English Essays, Sidney to Macaulay
28 English and American Essays
29 Darwin. Voyage of the Beagle
30 Faraday, Helmholtz, Kelvin, Newcomb, etc. (Scientific Papers)
31 Cellini. Autobiography
32 Montaigne, Sainte-Beuve, Renan, etc.
33 Voyages and Travels
34 Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hobbes
35 Froissart, Malory, Holinshed
36 Machiavelli, More, Luther
37 Locke, Berkeley, Hume
38 Harvey, Jenner, Lister, Pasteur
39 Famous Prefaces
40 English Poetry, 1
41 English Poetry, 2
42 English Poetry, 3
43 American Historical Documents
44 Sacred Writings, 1
45 Sacred Writings, 2
46 Elizabethan Drama, 1
47 Elizabethan Drama, 2
48 Pascal. Thoughts and Minor Works
49 Epic and Saga
50 Introduction, Reader's Guide and Indexes
51 Lectures on The Harvard Classics

The Harvard Classics—51 Bound Volumes

The Harvard Classics—Individual Books as Scanned by The Internet Archive

158
RESULTS
rss


PART OF
Additional Collections
Media Type
158
texts
Year
1
1980
1
1923
2
1922
2
1921
1
1920
2
1917
More right-solid
Topics & Subjects
45
Literature -- Collections
7
Literature
3
English poetry
3
Political science
3
Voyages and travels
2
English drama -- Early modern and Elizabethan, 1500-1600
More right-solid
Collection
More right-solid
Creator
46
eliot, charles w. (charles william), 1834-1926
12
plutarch
6
eliot, charles william, 1834-1926
3
milton, john, 1608-1674
2
aesop
2
cicero, marcus tullius
More right-solid
Language
151
English
2
Ancient Greek
2
French
1
Irish
1
Italian
1
Latin
More right-solid
SHOW DETAILS
up-solid down-solid
eye
Title
Date Published
Creator
PIMS - University of Toronto
by Machiavelli, Niccolò, 1469-1527; Ricci, Luigi
texts
eye 48,393
favorite 14
comment 0
27
Topics: Political science, Political ethics
University of Toronto - John M. Kelly Library
by Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882
texts
eye 46,585
favorite 32
comment 0
Previously published as: On the origin of species by means of natural selection
Topics: Evolution, Natural selection
University of Toronto - John M. Kelly Library
by Hippocrates; Heraclitus, of Ephesus; Jones, W. H. S. (William Henry Samuel), 1876-1963; Potter, Paul, 1944-; Withington, E. T. (Edward Theodore); Smith, Wesley D., 1930-
texts
eye 20,012
favorite 17
comment 0
Hoeniger, F. David
Topics: Hippocrates, Medicine, Medicine, Greek and Roman
California Digital Library
by Goldsmith, Oliver, 1730?-1774
texts
eye 15,665
favorite 4
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Boston College Library
by Eliot, Charles William, 1834-1926
texts
eye 15,418
favorite 26
comment 1
v. 1. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Journal of John Woolman; Fruits of Solitude/William Penn--v. 2. Apology, Phaedo and Crito/Plato; Golden sayings of Epictetus; Meditations of Marcus Aurelius--v. 3. Essays, civil and moral, and The new Atlantis/Francis Bacon; Areopagitica and Tractate on education/John Milton; Religio Medici/Sir Thomas Browne--v. 4. Complete poems of John Milton--v. 5. Essays and English traits/R. W. Emerson--v. 6. Poems and songs of Robert Burns--v. 7. Confessions of...
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topic: Literature
University of Toronto - Robarts Library
by Hobbes, Thomas, 1588-1679; Pogson Smith, W. G. (William George)
texts
eye 14,872
favorite 6
comment 0
Topics: Political science, State, The
University of Toronto - Robarts Library
by Descartes, René, 1596-1650; Hobbes, Thomas, 1588-1679; Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 1712-1778; Voltaire, 1694-1778
texts
eye 14,251
favorite 10
comment 0
Topic: Philosophy -- Collected works
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 12,314
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 12,113
favorite 3
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
The Library of Congress
by Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 1751-1816; Webster, Hanson Hart, 1877- [from old catalog] ed
texts
eye 12,074
favorite 1
comment 0
University of Toronto - John M. Kelly Library
by Froissart, Jean, 1338?-1410?; Berners, John Bourchier, Lord, 1466 or 7-1533; Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915
texts
eye 11,380
favorite 4
comment 0
31
Topics: Hundred Years' War, 1339-1453, Europe -- History 476-1492
New York Public Library
by Aesop; Vernon Jones, V. S. (Vernon Stanley); Rackham, Arthur, 1867-1939, ill
texts
eye 10,862
favorite 17
comment 0
Topic: Fables
University of Toronto - John M. Kelly Library
by Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, 121-180; Casaubon, Meric, 1599-1671
texts
eye 9,456
favorite 9
comment 0
University of Toronto - Robarts Library
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 9,257
favorite 2
comment 0
The Editor's Introduction; Reader's Guide; Index to the First Lines of Poems Songs & Choruses, Hymns & Psalms; General Index; Chronological Index.
Topics: Best books, Poetry -- Indexes, Religious poetry -- Indexes
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 8,832
favorite 2
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
University of Toronto - Robarts Library
by Milton, John, 1608-1674; Hales, John W. (John Wesley), 1836-1914
texts
eye 8,398
favorite 3
comment 0
26
Topic: Freedom of the press
New York Public Library
by Grimm, Jacob, 1785-1863; Grimm, Wilhelm, 1786-1859; Bell, R. Anning, ill
texts
eye 7,700
favorite 42
comment 0
A collection of forty-nine tales by the Grimm brothers
Topics: Fairy tales, Folklore -- Germany
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 7,536
favorite 3
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
University of Toronto - Robarts Library
by Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790
texts
eye 7,321
favorite 8
comment 0
26
26
University of Toronto - John M. Kelly Library
by Plutarch; Perrin, Bernadotte
texts
eye 6,995
favorite 3
comment 0
v. 1. Theseus and Romulus. Lycurgus and Numa. Solon and Publicola -- v. 2. Themistocles and Camillus. Aristides and Cato Major. Cimon and Lucullus -- v. 3. Pericles and Fabius Maximus. Nicias and Crassus -- v. 4. Alcibiades and Coriolanus. Lysander and Sulla -- v. 5. Agesilaus and Pompey. Pelopidas and Marcellus -- v. 6. dion and Brutus. Timoleon and Aemilius Paulus -- v. 7. Demosthenes and Cicero. Alexander and Caesar -- v. 8. Sertorios and Eumenes. Phocion and Cato the Younger -- v. 9....
California Digital Library
by Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822; Forman, Alfred, 1840-1925; Forman, H. Buxton (Harry Buxton), 1842-1917; Todhunter, John, 1839-1916
texts
eye 6,850
favorite 2
comment 0
Microopaque
Topic: Cenci, Beatrice, 1577-1599
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 6,843
favorite 2
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
University of Toronto - Robarts Library
by Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo; Pusey, E. B. (Edward Bouverie), 1800-1882; Benham, William, 1831-1910
texts
eye 6,738
favorite 2
comment 0
26
The Library of Congress
by Bunyan, John, 1628-1688
texts
eye 6,355
favorite 0
comment 0
"This ed. has been carefully edited and abridged for the use of schools."--Pref. note
Topic: Christian pilgrims and pilgrimages
University of Toronto - Robarts Library
by Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882
texts
eye 5,927
favorite 2
comment 0
14 31
Topics: Beagle Expedition (1831-1836), Geology, Natural history, Voyages around the world, South America --...
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,910
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,733
favorite 2
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Boston College Library
by Eliot, Charles William, 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,679
favorite 5
comment 0
v. 1. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Journal of John Woolman; Fruits of Solitude/William Penn--v. 2. Apology, Phaedo and Crito/Plato; Golden sayings of Epictetus; Meditations of Marcus Aurelius--v. 3. Essays, civil and moral, and The new Atlantis/Francis Bacon; Areopagitica and Tractate on education/John Milton; Religio Medici/Sir Thomas Browne--v. 4. Complete poems of John Milton--v. 5. Essays and English traits/R. W. Emerson--v. 6. Poems and songs of Robert Burns--v. 7. Confessions of...
Topic: Literature
California Digital Library
by Andersen, H. C. (Hans Christian), 1805-1875
texts
eye 5,664
favorite 13
comment 0
Publisher's violet sand-grain cloth over boards, blocked in gold and blind
Topic: Children's stories, Danish
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,646
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,508
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,499
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,482
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,464
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,386
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
University of Toronto - Robarts Library
by Manzoni, Alessandro, 1785-1873; Folli, Riccardo
texts
eye 5,332
favorite 0
comment 0
26
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,252
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
26
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,091
favorite 3
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,063
favorite 4
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 5,058
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,985
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,924
favorite 2
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,890
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,812
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,809
favorite 5
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,766
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
California Digital Library
by Homer
texts
eye 4,747
favorite 5
comment 0
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,717
favorite 2
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,569
favorite 3
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,556
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,522
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
University of Toronto - John M. Kelly Library
by Plutarch; Perrin, Bernadotte
texts
eye 4,516
favorite 4
comment 1
v. 1. Theseus and Romulus. Lycurgus and Numa. Solon and Publicola -- v. 2. Themistocles and Camillus. Aristides and Cato Major. Cimon and Lucullus -- v. 3. Pericles and Fabius Maximus. Nicias and Crassus -- v. 4. Alcibiades and Coriolanus. Lysander and Sulla -- v. 5. Agesilaus and Pompey. Pelopidas and Marcellus -- v. 6. dion and Brutus. Timoleon and Aemilius Paulus -- v. 7. Demosthenes and Cicero. Alexander and Caesar -- v. 8. Sertorios and Eumenes. Phocion and Cato the Younger -- v. 9....
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
The Library of Congress
by Hall, J. Lesslie (John Lesslie), 1856-
texts
eye 4,431
favorite 3
comment 0
Topics: Epic poetry, English (Old), Monsters, Dragons
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,424
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,416
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
University of Toronto - Robarts Library
by Cicero, Marcus Tullius
texts
eye 4,317
favorite 1
comment 0
[pt. 3] Translation
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,315
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,283
favorite 4
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,279
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,242
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,209
favorite 4
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,199
favorite 2
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,169
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,037
favorite 3
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
University of Toronto - Gerstein Science Information Centre
by Plato; Riddell, James, 1823-1866
texts
eye 4,036
favorite 1
comment 0
26
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 4,030
favorite 3
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 3,982
favorite 2
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
University of Toronto - John M. Kelly Library
by Plutarch; Perrin, Bernadotte
texts
eye 3,979
favorite 2
comment 0
v. 1. Theseus and Romulus. Lycurgus and Numa. Solon and Publicola -- v. 2. Themistocles and Camillus. Aristides and Cato Major. Cimon and Lucullus -- v. 3. Pericles and Fabius Maximus. Nicias and Crassus -- v. 4. Alcibiades and Coriolanus. Lysander and Sulla -- v. 5. Agesilaus and Pompey. Pelopidas and Marcellus -- v. 6. dion and Brutus. Timoleon and Aemilius Paulus -- v. 7. Demosthenes and Cicero. Alexander and Caesar -- v. 8. Sertorios and Eumenes. Phocion and Cato the Younger -- v. 9....
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 3,921
favorite 2
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 3,906
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Canadian Libraries
by Eliot, Charles W. (Charles William), 1834-1926
texts
eye 3,827
favorite 1
comment 0
Topic: Literature -- Collections
Project Gutenberg
by Epictetus, circa 55-135 AD
texts
eye 3,808
favorite 1
comment 1
Book from Project Gutenberg: The Golden Sayings of Epictetus Library of Congress Classification: PA
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Princeton Theological Seminary Library
texts
eye 3,754
favorite 4
comment 0
Topics: Equality, Natural law, Political science